• Leon Pantenburg | Survival Common Sense


Review: Bark River Mini Gunny – Your Grail knife may be here!

600 398 Survival Common Sense Blog | Emergency Preparedness

The Bark River Gunny series of knives is one of my all-time favorite cutlery designs. The new Mini Gunny may end up being your favorite.

by Leon Pantenburg

Disclaimer: Bark River Knives supplied the product for this review. I don’t work for Bark River, and I was not paid to write this post. This is strictly my opinion and nobody had any input into it. All I ever promise is a fair and impartial testing and review.

Frankly, any knife with a “mini” in its title is suspect to me. Like most people with large, working man hands, the diminutive, slender handles on some knives just don’t work for me. But to quote my wife: “Not everybody wants a knife that can be used to gut an elk or do bushcraft stuff. There is nothing wrong with a small knife for small hands.”

But the new Bark River Mini Gunny is still a Gunny, and I can’t seem to quit adding them to my collection. I’ve owned six Gunny variations so far, and all of them have something to recommend them.

To start with, the Gunny is the second most popular knife Bark River makes. (The Bravo is Number One.) And the Gunny is just soooo… handy to carry. It hits that sweet spot of being enough knife, but not too much. Much of the time, I’ll have a Gunny on my belt or close at hand.

The Mini Gunny is going to be very popular with folks who have normal-sized hands and who want a solid, lightweight user knife.

Here are the Mini Gunny specs:

  1. Overall Length: 7.56″
  2. Blade Length: 3.5″
  3. Blade Thickness: .125″
  4. Handle Thickness: .82″
  5. Tang: Full
  6. Blade Steel: MagnaCut
  7. Weight: 3.9 oz

Here’s how the knife has worked out so far.

Overall length: It’s compact. That’s a big deal when it comes to a carry knife. A big, bulky blade is rarely needed in everyday life. Eventually, it gets left behind because of its size. This knife is small and compact enough to fit in a daypack, and you won’t even know it’s there.

Blade length: At 3.5-inches long, the Mini Gunny hits another sweet spot of blade length. You can do just about anything with a three-to-four inch blade, from skinning an elk to whittling wiener sticks. The blade is nimble enough to work inside a carcass. It is not too big to be a useful small game knife.

The Gunny series comes in a variety of configurations. From top: UP, Hunter LT and Mini Gunny.

Blade thickness: I believe that too many knives have blades that are too thick to be useful. Really, how thick should a user knife blade be? At .125-inches, the Mini Gunny blade is thin enough to be useful. If the blade was about .9-inches thick, it would be an incredible slicer. My guess is that the Mini Gunny will be used more for peeling potatoes and cleaning fish than stabbing bears.

Handle thickness: Another personal preference. For me, the handle borders on being too slender. I get it – knife makers have to cater to their biggest demographic, and in this case, it isn’t me!

Blade design: I have long been a fan of the Canadian leaf style blades. The drop point on the Mini works well as a hunting knife, and the belly is great for skinning. There is ample edge for slicing.

The UP Gunny has this option. There are other Gunnys with drop or clip points. The options are wonderful, and the user can get what they want.

Grind: All Bark River knives are convex ground. For my needs, convex is best. Convex holds an edge well, is easy to sharpen and it cuts well. I use other excellent grinds in other knives, of course, but given a choice, I’ll take convex every time.

Point: It is really hard to beat a drop point in an all-around knife. A drop point is excellent for piercing, as in the initial under-the-tail work of field dressing a whitetail. The point and belly are excellent for skinning, and the point is great for drilling in wood (think firebow).

The UP Gunny is a real hunting knife.

So do you need a Mini Gunny?

You might. This might be your Grail knife if the handle fits your hands. If you have been looking for a hardcore user blade that can do just about anything. The Mini Gunny may be your best choice.

And for the inevitable “Who is your favorite child?” question, I’d have to say my favorite Gunny right now is the UP.

Order a Mini Gunny here.

Check out these other Gunny reviews.

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